Pence Aide subpoena shows how Jan 6 committee work is staying under the radar

WASHINGTON – Like an iceberg hiding most of its mass below the surface, the House committee investigating the January 6 attack on the Capitol instigated by former President Donald Trump has quietly gathered far more information than his public announcements do not suggest it.

Marc Short, one of the main contributors to former vice-president Mike Pence, was subpoenaed a few weeks ago by the committee. This finally went public this week. And former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, who said last week he would cooperate with the committee, announced through his lawyer on Tuesday that he would not – and quoted as the reason for the committee’s unknown collection of its cell phone logs.

“While we have announced around 40 subpoenas, the select committee heard from 275 witnesses, both from individuals complying with subpoenas and those who voluntarily participate in our investigation,” a committee aide said under cover of ‘anonymity. “We have collected over 30,000 pages of documents, received hundreds of tips and are moving quickly with this phase of our investigation. “

Norm Eisen, an Obama attorney in the White House who worked with the House committee that pursued Trump’s first impeachment, said the work under the radar made sense. “In Marc Short’s case, it appears they have quietly released an appropriate process, and he has been cooperating for weeks,” he said. “If they had done so publicly, who knows what kind of threats and intimidation he might have received.”

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows arrives to hear then-President Donald Trump speak in the East Room of the White House early in the morning of November 4, 2020, in Washington, DC

The Washington Post via Getty Images

This Short, who was with Pence on Capitol Hill when the Trump mob stormed the building, would cooperate was not surprising, given that Trump had put his life on the line. What has not been confirmed before, however, is that the committee has issued “friendly” subpoenas to give witnesses the opportunity to say that they are simply complying with a legal request to testify.

Likewise, while the committee issued letters in August to 35 telecom and tech companies asking them to keep records of certain individuals, the names of those individuals were withheld, and only when Meadows’ attorney told the committee his client would not cooperate as it became clear Meadows – who had been with Trump all day – was among them.

“Congressional investigators certainly don’t and always shouldn’t make a big public demonstration of who they’re subpoenaing,” Eisen said, adding that this was similar to the tactic used by his Trump impeachment committee. “We did a lot of interviews that helped shape the impeachment that we didn’t make public.”

The committee, meanwhile, continues to try to persuade reluctant and even hostile witnesses to testify. The panel and the entire House had previously referred Trump adviser Steve Bannon for criminal contempt for refusing to cooperate. On Tuesday, a federal judge set a trial date for the summer.

The committee also approved the contempt charges against former Trump Justice Department attorney Jeffrey Clark, but then set a date for deposition to allow him to plead his Fifth Amendment right not to self-incriminate. . That is now set for December 16 after Clark requested a postponement from last week due to illness.

And on Tuesday, the committee released a joint statement from President Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) And Vice-President Liz Cheney (R-Wy.) Promising that if Meadows, a former congressman from North Carolina, will not was not showing up for his deposition appointment on Wednesday: “The select committee will have no choice but to advance the contempt proceedings and recommend that the body in which Mr Meadows once served refer him for prosecution criminal. “

Trump became the first president in U.S. history to refuse to surrender power peacefully and tried to stay in power despite losing his reelection by 7 million votes. The January 6 insurgency was his last attempt to coerce Pence into declaring Trump the winner despite the outcome.

Maria D. Ervin